Road to Snow Leopard: Twice the RAM, half the price, 64-bits

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  • Reply 121 of 147
    ya mel,



    to be honest, What consumer needs to blow things up beyond 8x10? Isn't 8x10 roughly 7-8 mega pixels? And aren't we talking about amature consumers here?



    I honestly doubt (and this is not from years of taking photos' but I have used at least 20 digital cam's from my first Nikon CoolPix 990 (was $900 at the time to my current D60. ) That amature consumer needs 10mp or more.



    And Mel, that wasn't NEAR nasty. I didn't even show the guy my teeth. I was just saying Schenanagans, cause nothing he said made sense with his previous posts. I was frustrated at extreme skater's changing of subjects every post however, and it showed.
  • Reply 122 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post


    You really must be some kid living in his mom's basement. It's the only thing I can think of seeing you are hung up on a guy in his 30's being old.



    I am sure you have used forums before, if your big event for the night is your syncing iPhones clearly you aren't getting laid all that often.



    Okay now go tell your mom your going to play with your Wii for 15 mins and then go to bed.



    Oh my Darwin! I do believe that's Game-Set-Match.
  • Reply 123 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    My justification: 10MP exceeds what's necessary for a letter size photo print at 300ppi, with plenty of margin for cropping. And that's pretty good for amateurs. Larger prints often mean that observer is standing back a bit farther anyway. They're most likely not getting stuff printed as a two page magazine spread or hung as a similar or larger sized shot in a gallery. Even with nose-printing on the print, most people don't appear to notice or appreciate any extra detail at 600.



    That's no justification at all. As I wrote about what size prints I'm talking about. I'm not talking about letter size prints, as you know very well.



    As I've said, for point and shoots, it's fine, even a bit too much.



    And when you say amateurs, what you really mean is "casual shooters". Amateurs are people who care about something as an advocation, and shouldn't be confused with people who know little, or care little, about the subject.



    You're making a lot of statements about "people" when you don't know about those "people".



    Why don't you go to a gallery displaying photographs? The "people" there do tend to move in and look at detail. All of us in the profession in one way or another, understand that.



    You're talking about yourself, and your friends and family. Thats different.



    As I was talking about people who DO shoot two page spreads for a living, why are you dismissing them? Why are you dismissing people who shoot landscapes for a living, and often print anywhere from 17" x 20" to 60" x 120"?



    Those of us who are doing this don't care about "most people". There is a big audience for this as it is, and when people do come to see these prints, often, even if they are part of that "most people" group of yours, do go nose to nose with the prints.



    Quote:

    You misinterpreted what I said. I have no idea how you can say that in view of "I try to point out detail in a letter sized photo prints, but pretty much no one cares." I don't know how I can say I try to point out detail and you still contend that I don't care about said detail. I'm just being practical. Except for some pros, I see little use in obsessing over detail that are only of interest to the occasional nose-printers. I doubt most amateurs would stand much of a chance with that kind of crowd anyway.



    Why do you think this should be up to you?



    Just say that YOU don't appreciate the high quality work people do, and leave it at that? What you mean as detail in a letter sized print would be a blob on a large print.





    Quote:

    I am interested in photography despite your elitist assertions otherwise. It's like telling someone they aren't really interested in Macs if they don't own a Mac pro. While there are certain niches that demand such detail, the practical reality is that the web is fast becoming the primary photo display medium, if not already, and even more so for the future. Magazines are slowly declining, there's not a whole lot of room for shooters to serve that market. Being able to capture a 21MP photo doesn't mean shit if the photo is posted to the web, it's either annoying or significantly downsampled.



    Ah, I see. If someone is interested in high quality, it becomes an elitist thing. That' a VERY unfair statement to make.



    Being interested in photography at the level that requires this equipment, is different from "interest" as expressed in shooting letter sized prints. Do you spend several hours on a prized photo as many of us do? That's the level of interest I mean.



    The fact that you don't seem to understand the need for high quality work has nothing to do with it I suppose.



    I guess the photographers who use $50,000 cameras for their work can throw them away because you think they are elitist for wanting, and needing what those cameras give them.



    How nice! I suppose that people who only shoot for 4" x 6" photos made in a mini-lab should think you're elitist as well—to them.



    So now, anytime someone here talks about something better than what you think THEY need, they're elitist.



    How narrow minded!



    You'll notice that nowhere did I say that everyone needs these higher quality pieces of equipment, just those who do.



    Magazines aren't declining in many areas. In some, that can be better served by the web, yes, such as computer magazines, and others like that. But, in general, that;s not so. More magazines come out every year. More than enough to replace those that go under. And they aren't going under because of the web, for the most part, but because the field is so crowded. The poorer ones can't make it.



    And people aren't going to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for web pictures as they do for properly printed and finished photographs.



    I suppose painters should no longer paint, and sculptors should no longer sculpt either. They should use computer programs only, because everything they do will only be on the web.



    I have nothing against people who aren't interested in making exhibition prints. They do their thing, and that's fine.
  • Reply 124 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JesseDegenerate View Post


    ya mel,



    to be honest, What consumer needs to blow things up beyond 8x10? Isn't 8x10 roughly 7-8 mega pixels? And aren't we talking about amature consumers here?



    I honestly doubt (and this is not from years of taking photos' but I have used at least 20 digital cam's from my first Nikon CoolPix 990 (was $900 at the time to my current D60. ) That amature consumer needs 10mp or more.



    And Mel, that wasn't NEAR nasty. I didn't even show the guy my teeth. I was just saying Schenanagans, cause nothing he said made sense with his previous posts. I was frustrated at extreme skater's changing of subjects every post however, and it showed.



    If you read the conversation from Jeff's first post onward, you will see that NOWHERE did I say that "consumers" needed to do any of this.



    I was NOT talking about consumers here.



    I was talking about professionals for professional, and other commercial use. I was talking about photographers who photograph for artistic purposes and display, and sell their prints. I was talking about amateurs, not casual shooters, for whom photography is avidly pursued to the highest quality they can afford to make it.



    It was a bit more than required. He didn't attack.
  • Reply 125 of 147
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Why don't you go to a gallery displaying photographs? The "people" there do tend to move in and look at detail. All of us in the profession in one way or another, understand that.



    How big is that audience? How many people visit this country's fine art photo galleries in a year?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Ah, I see. If someone is interested in high quality, it becomes an elitist thing. That' a VERY unfair statement to make.



    No, I very clearly said that it's elitist of you to say I'm not really interested in photography because I don't agree with your views. As in "everyone that disagrees is heathen".
  • Reply 126 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post




    Ah, I see. If someone is interested in high quality, it becomes an elitist thing. That' a VERY unfair statement to make.




    Unfortunately, statements like that are very common nowadays. I have nothing to contribute to the photography discussion, but as an unreconstructed audiophile, I'm always being told that "nobody can tell the difference" between even the severely limited quality of CD sound and this 128,000 bps, ear-destroying noise that people who never learned any better are now willing to pay money for. This anti-"elitist" attitude isn't harmless, either: it destroyed both the SACD and DVD-Audio formats at birth.



    Of course, we're also subject to ridicule because people who know good sound from bad sound are tarred with the same brush as lunatics who take green magic markers to their CDs. Meanwhile, when 0.1% Total Harmonic Distortion was entry-level for a quality sound system 35 years ago, now people will pay ridiculous sums for "Home Theater Systems" rated at 9% (!) THD.



    I am not a professional audio engineer, but I am an "amateur" in your terminology; someone who cares about quality and is willing to seek it out. Unfortunately, when my 20-year-old Carver/Cambridge Soundworks system gives out, I won't be able to afford the $20,000 it would cost to replace it with anything remotely similar. There won't be anything but crappy downloads to listen to by then anyway!
  • Reply 127 of 147
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    the severely limited quality of CD sound



    CD sound quality is not "severely limited".



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    and this 128,000 bps, ear-destroying noise that people who never learned any better are now willing to pay money for.



    I agree that this is unfortunate. Where are our lossless downloads Apple?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    it destroyed both the SACD and DVD-Audio formats at birth.



    Oh well. Never mind. The only properly conducted double-blind comparison between DVD-Audio, SACD and "CD quality" that I'm aware of (abstract here) showed that no-one can hear the difference. I must say that I was very surprised but there you go. The problem isn't CD's 16 bit, 44.1 kHz PCM but the fact that so many CDs are horrendously mastered (lots of dynamic compression etc.)
  • Reply 128 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    The problem isn't CD's 16 bit, 44.1 kHz PCM but the fact that so many CDs are horrendously mastered (lots of dynamic compression etc.)



    I agree the quality of CDs varies enormously and some of the good ones are very, very good. I also agree that the 44.1 kHz sampling rate is just fine. The 16-bit dynamic range is also all right for pop music (now that they don't try to stretch the envelope any more like they did in the 60s and 70s,) but in the quiet stretches of orchestral music where they're only using maybe 4 bits of that, it can result in artifacts that are really horrifying.



    Anyway, "CDs are dead." That's what they keep telling us!
  • Reply 129 of 147
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    Anyway, "CDs are dead." That's what they keep telling us!



    In last years September Special Event keynote Jobs stated that 32% of all music sold in 2006 was not even released on CD. There is obviously a marketing spin in there somewhere, so I assume that there are a lot of indie bands on eMusic being counted. That doesn't mean that the move isn't happening, but if how many popular artists/major labels are only releasing digital copies of their music?
  • Reply 130 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    In last years September Special Event keynote Jobs stated that 32% of all music sold in 2006 was not even released on CD. There is obviously a marketing spin in there somewhere, so I assume that there are a lot of indie bands on eMusic being counted. That doesn't mean that the move isn't happening, but if how many popular artists/major labels are only releasing digital copies of their music?



    I don't know, but it would be interesting to find out. What I worry about is that all this "optical media are dead" hoopla will turn into another one of these self-fulfilling prophecies. You have the techno-intelligentsia pushing it from one side, and the RIAA would like nothing better than to put the genie back in the bottle and slap DRM on everything.
  • Reply 131 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    How big is that audience? How many people visit this country's fine art photo galleries in a year?



    millions



    Quote:

    No, I very clearly said that it's elitist of you to say I'm not really interested in photography because I don't agree with your views. As in "everyone that disagrees is heathen".



    No, that wasn't it at all. As I explained later, I have nothing against your level of interest. What you don't have is a high interest that involves making prints that require larger sizes for the proper impact, which then require much higher quality.



    Since even "amateurs are buying 13' x 19" printers in very large numbers, almost a million a year by some estimates, there is a large interest in work done beyond 8/5 x 11. More advanced amateurs and professionals are buying printers like my Canon ipf5100, or equivalent Epson and Hp. Pros are also buying machines from these companies up to 60".



    The many high quality, and expensive printing papers available today are more evidence for that.



    The fact that about 7 million D-SLR's were sold around the world last year is also an indication.



    You're ignoring all of this very carefully in your arguments. All you want to talk about is casual shooters, when you know that I'm not talking about them. They are in their world of pictures, and we are in ours.



    I don't bemoan the level of their work, and I don't expect them to bemoan mine.



    I'm not saying that you have no interest at all, the mere fact that you do print shows that you have some interest. But your interest level isn't in depth. If you really were interested at the level many of us are, you wouldn't be arguing with me about this. You would understand.
  • Reply 132 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    That doesn't look as though its a detriment right now, when compared to Windows. Performance wise, Vista has been a dog. It's only recently that most of that has been fixed. Comparable programs also seem to perform about the same on both platforms.



    Who in their right mind using Vista today, wouldn't upgrade to Vista SP1? We are at least talking about current or future OS'es, are we not?



    Oh, and we seem to be comparing a future OS to a present OS, and AI is choosing to compare a particular version of the present OS disproportionately 32-bit x86 Vista (or XP). And yes, most people use 32-bit Windows, because that's all they needed in the first place to begin with. Those that need a 64-bit OS move to a 64-bit OS at their choosing, one that runs 99.44% of all 32-bit Windows applications.



    And since we're talking about possible future OS'es why I think Vista SP2 will be released before the Snow Leopard bata's (10.6.0, 10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.6.3, ad infinitum, ad nauseam).



    It seems as if Snow Leopard is a fix for the premature release of Leopard, a flashy hood ornament is a flashy hood ornament, when all I wanted in the first place was to have the engine fixed.



    Perform about the same? My original point about parity was taken then?
  • Reply 133 of 147
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    The 16-bit dynamic range is also all right for pop music (now that they don't try to stretch the envelope any more like they did in the 60s and 70s,) but in the quiet stretches of orchestral music where they're only using maybe 4 bits of that, it can result in artifacts that are really horrifying.



    I used to think that the 16 bit resolution wasn't quite high enough and that 19 or 20 bits were necessary for ultimate fidelity with respect to the capabilities of the human ear. However, that study I linked to used music of all different types and highly experienced listeners, and not a single one of them could hear the difference between DVD-audio/SACD and CD quality. So I have to conclude, until any contrary evidence from a study of at least equal thoroughness, that 16 bit resolution is fine for all music. It still gives a much, much bigger dynamic range than vinyl and I don't hear people complaining about classical on vinyl.
  • Reply 134 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    ...It still gives a much, much bigger dynamic range than vinyl and I don't hear people complaining about classical on vinyl.



    The problem isn't dynamic range per se, it's digitization error when only a small part of that range is being used. Vinyl, being analog, didn't have that problem. Of course, it had its own problems, and I think the aficionados who cling to analog as being somehow superior in this day and age are misguided; especially since every vinyl record was digitally mastered anyway. (Of course, that's on recorders with much greater than 16-bit resolution.)



    Artifacts and distortion are not all created equal. The problems to which vinyl was heir (noise, limited dynamic range, etc.) are annoyances that occur in the natural environment. Our auditory cortex has evolved to filter them out and listen past them. That's not true of some of the distortions that have been introduced by technology and that it was blithely assumed "no one could hear."



    The first solid-state amplifiers did very well on harmonic distortion, but they used a push-pull arrangement, which while the characteristic curve looked nice and linear in the middle, thus introducing no harmonics, did have a discontinuity there which introduced "anharmonic distortion," something nobody was checking for, and something that never happens in the real world, giving a sound quality that was absolutely intolerable. But measured distortion was low, so who cared?



    The first CD players use analog filters to remove everything above 20 kHz. It was by definition "noise" since it couldn't be recorded on the disc at that sampling rate. Unfortunately, they used a Chebyshev filter, which gives a nice flat frequency response, but introduces phase distortion close to the upper limit: another thing "nobody could hear." Well, they could!



    Stereo was designed to create an illusion of localization by simply varying the loudness of the signal to move the apparent location from coincidence with the left speaker to coincidence with the right, and in between. Unfortunately, if a rapid-onset sound like a drumbeat reaches the ears in the real world, you will hear two arrival times, one for each ear. In stereo reproduction you get four, two for each speaker, which creates confusion in the auditory cortex and prevents stereo from working as advertised. Phase was another thing the human ear couldn't detect, and since it was tested with continuous sine waves, that was true: until you listen to real music! (Of course five-channel gives you ten arrival times to sort out!) The only solution is headphones (but they don't allow a real perception of sound coming from straight ahead; it will seem to rise up kind of above your head) or Carver Sonic Holography?, which died with the second of the three corporations Bob Carver had stolen out from under him by insensate bean-counters.



    The list of things "the human ear can't detect" is added to every time a new technology comes along, and usually disproven. Only this time, it seems like crappy music downloads are finally going to make it stick!
  • Reply 135 of 147
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    The problem isn't dynamic range per se, it's digitization error when only a small part of that range is being used. Vinyl, being analog, didn't have that problem.



    Sorry, but this is a popular misconception and simply wrong. There is absolutely zero difference between quantisation (done properly with dithering) and the noise inherent in the vinyl medium.



    Taking a sample, dithering it and converting it to a number with 16 bit accuracy is exactly the same as recording that sample onto an analogue medium with a 96 dB noise floor (note we're talking here just about the quantisation to 16 bit, not the sampling rate). Vinyl has a noise floor of 75 dB. This "digitization error" of which you speak is noise, pure and simple.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    The first solid-state amplifiers did very well on harmonic distortion, but they used a push-pull arrangement



    There's nothing wrong with push-pull. However, the first solid-state amplifiers, whilst they did have better THD numbers than valve amplifiers, used "quasi-complimentary" output stages using all-NPN output devices, rather than NPN/PNP matched pair. This is because no-one at the time was manufacturing PNP power transistors with the necessary high-frequency performance (fT). Quasi-complimentary output stages have quite horrible cross-over regions. This means that they produce many high-order harmonics in contrast to valve amplifiers which generate mainly second harmonic distortion. Second harmonic distortion generally adds "warmth" to a signal and therefore sounds more pleasant than an objectively "more accurate" amplifier producing high-order harmonics.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    which while the characteristic curve looked nice and linear in the middle, thus introducing no harmonics, did have a discontinuity there which introduced "anharmonic distortion,"



    If an amplifier distorts a signal with a discontinuity as you state, it must necessarily produce harmonic distortion. The only way of having "anharmonic distortion" is by the amplifier literally generating its own signals. If you've got a link to a proper technical paper on this, I'd love to see it.
  • Reply 136 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    CD sound quality is not "severely limited".



    I agree that this is unfortunate. Where are our lossless downloads Apple?



    Oh well. Never mind. The only properly conducted double-blind comparison between DVD-Audio, SACD and "CD quality" that I'm aware of (abstract here) showed that no-one can hear the difference. I must say that I was very surprised but there you go. The problem isn't CD's 16 bit, 44.1 kHz PCM but the fact that so many CDs are horrendously mastered (lots of dynamic compression etc.)



    As some here know, I'm an audiophile, and have designed quipment commercially, for my own firm, and others.



    Having said that, I don't hear the difference either.



    You are correct about the mastering. Stan Richter, one of the great engineers, one said, in regard to Telarc's better sounding gold CD's, that it wasn't the gold that made them sound better (though many audiophiles do think that), but the higher price of the recordings allowed them more time to get the mastering "right".



    Having done live recording and mastering myself, I agree that high quality mastering, or the lack of same, is one of the biggest determinators of how high the quality of the album will be. That's assuming that they got the original recording right, which doesn't always happen. Then you have the mastering chasing the recording to no good effect.



    This is true for SACD as well, though I'll get an argument about that if there're any "blue blood" audiophiles present. In the beginning, Sony made some really dynamite SACD's. They did sound great. But, I'm pretty sure that the mastering was great as well, and they selected only works that were recorded very well also. Over time, fewer SACD's sounded so great, because more companies were making them, and as they became more common, standards, as usual, in the chase for the buck, went down. So some sound great, and some don't.



    Beside, it's on the way out. The PS3, surprisingly, doesn't support it, which tells us something.
  • Reply 137 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    I agree the quality of CDs varies enormously and some of the good ones are very, very good. I also agree that the 44.1 kHz sampling rate is just fine. The 16-bit dynamic range is also all right for pop music (now that they don't try to stretch the envelope any more like they did in the 60s and 70s,) but in the quiet stretches of orchestral music where they're only using maybe 4 bits of that, it can result in artifacts that are really horrifying.



    Anyway, "CDs are dead." That's what they keep telling us!



    Let me explain a little *bit* (PUN zone!) about this.



    16 44.1 is really fine. But, it's understood that 18 48 is better. It's better by just a little bit. But it is better. Does it matter? Not really. But it's about the most we can hear, given really good equipment, (and mastering!).



    John Eargle, one of the best known people in the music business, as producer engineer, and researcher, has said the 18 48 would be all that we would ever need for listening purposes. Archival storage is another thing. 24 94 is better for that.



    The problem we have with 24 96 is that there is no equipment now, or likely in the future (as a practical matter), that can properly reproduce it. 24 bits is 144 db of dynamic range, and that's well beyond any dynamic range an electronic component can deliver. In fact, even SACD players can't reproduce it at their outputs! 18 bits is a good practical limitation.



    As for 96 KHz sampling rate, well it costs little these days to do it, so...



    But it serves little purpose for audio, even with the noise shaping that SACD does.
  • Reply 138 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by franksargent View Post


    Who in their right mind using Vista today, wouldn't upgrade to Vista SP1? We are at least talking about current or future OS'es, are we not?



    Oh, and we seem to be comparing a future OS to a present OS, and AI is choosing to compare a particular version of the present OS disproportionately 32-bit x86 Vista (or XP). And yes, most people use 32-bit Windows, because that's all they needed in the first place to begin with. Those that need a 64-bit OS move to a 64-bit OS at their choosing, one that runs 99.44% of all 32-bit Windows applications.



    And since we're talking about possible future OS'es why I think Vista SP2 will be released before the Snow Leopard bata's (10.6.0, 10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.6.3, ad infinitum, ad nauseam).



    It seems as if Snow Leopard is a fix for the premature release of Leopard, a flashy hood ornament is a flashy hood ornament, when all I wanted in the first place was to have the engine fixed.



    Perform about the same? My original point about parity was taken then?



    Well now, let's see. Even Vista SP1 requires computers that are close to the top of the range now, if you expect Aero to take off. If you take the machines that were being sold originally as being "Vista ready", that really weren't, and you include all of the Aero "experience", they are still running slowly with the full GUI running.



    What MS has speeded up is some problems playing a number of games and the like. But, Vista is still slow, when compared to XP.
  • Reply 139 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Sorry, but this is a popular misconception and simply wrong. There is absolutely zero difference between quantisation (done properly with dithering) and the noise inherent in the vinyl medium.



    This section of John Watkinson's book "The Art of Sound Reproduction" seems to disagree with this and shows how anharmonic distortion can arise in low-level sound in digital recording, too. You learn something new every day!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    There's nothing wrong with push-pull. However, the first solid-state amplifiers, whilst they did have better THD numbers than valve amplifiers, used "quasi-complimentary" output stages using all-NPN output devices, rather than NPN/PNP matched pair. This is because no-one at the time was manufacturing PNP power transistors with the necessary high-frequency performance (fT). Quasi-complimentary output stages have quite horrible cross-over regions. This means that they produce many high-order harmonics in contrast to valve amplifiers which generate mainly second harmonic distortion. Second harmonic distortion generally adds "warmth" to a signal and therefore sounds more pleasant than an objectively "more accurate" amplifier producing high-order harmonics.



    Thanks for pointing that out. I know there's nothing inherently wrong with push-pull amps, but I had forgotten the flaw in the first solid-state audio amplifiers.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    If an amplifier distorts a signal with a discontinuity as you state, it must necessarily produce harmonic distortion. The only way of having "anharmonic distortion" is by the amplifier literally generating its own signals. If you've got a link to a proper technical paper on this, I'd love to see it.



    Here's an article dealing with how anharmonic distortion arises when an amp is challenged with a chord instead of the pure tones most are tested with. Undoubtedly sum and difference frequencies result which are not harmonics of any of the components. (He finds that single-ended amps are worse than push-pull in this aspect.)



    I got roped into doing something tonight, but I'll keep looking for references. I'm sure I must have read this in Stereo Review or Audiophile many, many years ago, but it stands to reason that a singularity in any function can lead to bizarre, unpredictable results. That's why Stephen Hawking postulated the "Cosmic Censorship Conjecture" to keep them confined inside the event horizons of black holes!
  • Reply 140 of 147
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac-sochist View Post


    The problem isn't dynamic range per se, it's digitization error when only a small part of that range is being used.



    That problem, quantization error, isn't really a problem, because it was understood quite early in the CD era. Convolution (dithering) of the low bit signal (such as you hear in the last embers of a final piano tone) has eliminated that problem.



    Also, while that is a theoretical problem, it isn't much of a practical one. The low level signals that you are talking about are already so low in volume, that the residual distortion caused by this is so much further down in level so as to be unhearable, unless you press to the speaker. We're talking about components that are 100 db down! Lower than the noise level of most components the signal is passing through.



    Quote:

    Artifacts and distortion are not all created equal. The problems to which vinyl was heir (noise, limited dynamic range, etc.) are annoyances that occur in the natural environment. Our auditory cortex has evolved to filter them out and listen past them. That's not true of some of the distortions that have been introduced by technology and that it was blithely assumed "no one could hear."



    I've been to many a live concert over the years, and I've yet to hear any of the distortions that vinyl is subject to, there.



    We certainly haven't evolved to hear record noise, harmonic and IM distortion, etc. It's very obvious when playing records, and when listening to certain tube equipment.



    I've yet to see any actual proof, done through properly set-up listening tests, that show that we can hear the very low level distortions of a good CD, but not that of a good Lp. I'd love to see one.



    Most of this is hearsay, from people who have an interest in believing so.



    Quote:

    The first solid-state amplifiers did very well on harmonic distortion, but they used a push-pull arrangement, which while the characteristic curve looked nice and linear in the middle, thus introducing no harmonics, did have a discontinuity there which introduced "anharmonic distortion," something nobody was checking for, and something that never happens in the real world, giving a sound quality that was absolutely intolerable. But measured distortion was low, so who cared?



    Uh, what are you talking about? The earlier solid state amps used quasi-complementary circuits. Before that, they weren't even that sophisticated.



    But the problems of early (through the early '70's, to about 1972-3) solid state amps were due to a type of distortion called "TIM", or transient Intermodulation Distortion. This occurred for two reasons. One was that solid state amps had a much more extended high frequency range when compared to tube amps of that time. Two was that early transistors had a low frequency range. That sounds incompatible, and it IS. Once they recognized that TIM was the cause, they rapidly eliminated it. I'm not going to get into the theory involved, but will say that the problem wasn't recognized early on because tubes, due to their nature, weren't reproducing it because of the high frequency roll-off (and other reasons). Therefore, it didn't occur to engineers that TIM could exist in an audio amp.



    "Push Pull" was invented in the late '40's by Williamson. It was first used for tube amps, because solid state wasn't around then. In honor, that amp design is called the "Williamson Amp".



    It is the first modern amp design. Before that, all amps were of the type called "SLT", or "Single Ended Tube". All amplification was done with a positive going signal. But that kind of amp has many problems, and died out quickly after the "push pull' came out. More recently, it has made a comeback amongst a certain group of audiophiles who don't mind its high distortion, poor frequency response, and very low power. They claim that it has other qualities that more modern tube and SST amps lack.



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    The first CD players use analog filters to remove everything above 20 kHz. It was by definition "noise" since it couldn't be recorded on the disc at that sampling rate. Unfortunately, they used a Chebyshev filter, which gives a nice flat frequency response, but introduces phase distortion close to the upper limit: another thing "nobody could hear." Well, they could!



    "Brick Wall filters have their problems. The biggest problem was that of "ringing". At the filter point, the frequency response is unstable, and "rings". That is, it varies about the cutoff point. Some people claim to hear it, while others don't. The actual frequency is about 21.5 KHz, which is above the hearing limits of most younger adults (about 23 and up, if they are lucky, if not, 16 and up)).



    Phase distortion is interesting. When designing speakers and anything using filters, it was something I had to deal with. Unfortunately, phase shifting is something that can't be eliminated in the analog world. That's because it's the phase shift itself that's doing the work. No phase shift, no filtering!



    What is well understood about phase shifts and human hearing, is that we can't detect slow phase shifts. That is, phase shifting over a long frequency range. If phase is +720 degrees at 50 Hz, and -720 degrees at 15 KHz, we won't hear it. But, if phase shifts from, say, +180 degrees to -180 degrees between 750 Hz and 1,250 Hz, we will hear it.



    It's debatable if phase shifts at. or above. 21 KHz is audible though. If we can't hear the frequency involved, then it's not likely we will hear the phase shift associated with it, which is moving up in frequency, not down.



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    Stereo was designed to create an illusion of localization by simply varying the loudness of the signal to move the apparent location from coincidence with the left speaker to coincidence with the right, and in between. Unfortunately, if a rapid-onset sound like a drumbeat reaches the ears in the real world, you will hear two arrival times, one for each ear. In stereo reproduction you get four, two for each speaker, which creates confusion in the auditory cortex and prevents stereo from working as advertised. Phase was another thing the human ear couldn't detect, and since it was tested with continuous sine waves, that was true: until you listen to real music! (Of course five-channel gives you ten arrival times to sort out!) The only solution is headphones (but they don't allow a real perception of sound coming from straight ahead; it will seem to rise up kind of above your head) or Carver Sonic Holography™, which died with the second of the three corporations Bob Carver had stolen out from under him by insensate bean-counters.



    While I understand what you are saying, it's wrong. It's well understood that stereo works. That's not the problem. It only takes a 9 db difference in level to mask out the other channel completely for a similar sound in stereo reproduction. There is also the time difference, which is most certainly on both the Lp and the CD.



    How do you think the microphones pick this up? They are in different places, and "hear" the music at different times, with difference loudness, and phase. This is reproduced in the recording.



    Sometimes binaural microphones are used, where a simulated head is used, with the omnidirectional mics where the ears are. They get the same spacial relationships we get. The "cross mic" set-up is also sometimes used. That's where two (usually) cardiod mics are crossed over each other so that the left mic points towards to right and vica versa.



    I happen to know Bob Carver from way back. His ideas were well ahead of their time back then, but are still being used today.



    He invented quite a few things, but Sonic Holography was an interesting one. It's actually the basis of most multichannel systems today.



    The biggest problem Bob had with it, was that he was trying to do something in the analog domain that was better done in the digital domain. The problem was that there WAS no digital domain when he was working with this! It was amazing that it worked at all, much less as well as it did.



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    The list of things "the human ear can't detect" is added to every time a new technology comes along, and usually disproven. Only this time, it seems like crappy music downloads are finally going to make it stick!



    Unfortunately, we can't detect many things some think we can detect. While our eyes are given one million neurons to work with, our ears must make do with thirty thousand. We can;t discriminate as much as we like to think we can. Again, as I said earlier, hearsay is worthless. Without proper listening tests, we can think anything we like. And thats fine, just as long as we don't push it upon others.



    I'm always happy for someone when they tell me that the equipment they now have is enabling them to enjoy their music more than ever before, even if that equipment make me want to cringe.
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